Jan. 6, 2008
Game No. 14 Wednesday, Jan. 9 7 p.m.
Jon M. Huntsman Center Salt Lake City
Radio: Utah Sports Radio Network
Mike Lageschulte (play by play), Joe Cravens (color analyst)
UtahUtes.com: Audio/live stats
Utes Remain Home, Host Dixie State in Non-Conference Tilt
The University of Utah men's basketball team will play its final non-conference game of the regular season Wednesday, hosting the Dixie State Rebels in a 7 p.m. MST tipoff at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Utah enters Saturday's game with an 9-4 overall record and a 1-0 Mountain West Conference mark. The Utes are coming off a 56-38 victory over Air Force in the MWC opener Saturday at the Huntsman Center. Johnnie Bryant came off the bench to score 22 points in the victory. Utah had one of its better defensive performances in recent history. The Runnin' Utes held Air Force to just 36 points, including just 13 points in the second half.
Dixie State is 3-8 coming into the contest. The Rebels' last outing was a 98-61 loss Saturday at Chaminade to wrap up a three-game stretch in Hawaii. Dixie State has lost five in a row coming into their matchup with Utah. The Rebels' three victories have come over Colorado Christian, Westminster and Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Runnin' Ute Fast Breaks
Three Utah players are averaging double-digit points per game, while two more average 8.0 or more.
Utah's 22-point win over Air Force was its largest margin of victory in a conference game since topping TCU 80-45 (35-point margin) on Jan. 28, 2006.
Utah has held five different opponents to 54 points or less this season. The Runnin' Utes did not hold a single 2006-07 opponent to less than 55 points.
Utah holds a 506-321 (.611) record against current members of the Mountain West Conference. The Utes are .500-or-better against all eight teams.
The Utes currently rank No. 1 in the MWC in field-goal percentage. The Utes are currently converting at a .498 clip, the first time all season that they've been below .500.
Air Force's 36-point offensive output Saturday was the lowest total for a Utah opponent since the Falcons scored 35 against the Utes on Feb. 1, 2003.
ESPN.com's Reggie Rankin wrote that Utah head coach Jim Boylen "has installed one of the best team defensive packages in the country" last week. The Utes have held 11 of their 13 opponents this season to fewer points than their current averages. Only Washington and Santa Clara (way back on Nov. 14 and Nov. 19) scored more against the Utes than they currently average.
Drca Droppin' Dimes
Utah head coach Jim Boylen calls sophomore guard Luka Drca one of his most creative players. As of late, Drca has been creating a lot of opportunities for his teammates. In his last three outings, Drca has averaged 5.3 assists per game. He delivered a then-career-high four assists at California. Drca then set a new career-high for helpers with six vs. Idaho State. He matched that number again Dec. 31 at Gonzaga. Drca followed that up with five helpers vs. Air Force Saturday. He averages 2.7 assists per game, leading the team.
Johnnie Be Good
Senior guard Johnnie Bryant scored a season-high 22 points in Saturday's win over Air Force. Fifteen of those points came off five first-half 3-pointers, which were Utah's only field goals in the first half. Bryant set a new Utah record for 3-point attempts against the Falcons with 14, while tying the second-best total for triples made with 6. His 22-point effort left him just five points short of scoring 1,000 in his Utah career. He will be the 33rd member of the 1,000-Point Club if he can tally five more points this season.